- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Boeing 737-400

The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the -300/-400/-500 series of the Boeing 737 following the introduction of the -600/-700/-800/-900 series. They are short- to medium- range, narrow-body jet airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Classic series was introduced as the 'new generation' of the 737. Produced from 1984 to 2000, 1,988 aircraft were delivered. As of January 1, 2001, 1,945 remain in service.

Development and design

After the success of the Boeing 737-200 Advanced, Boeing wanted to increase capacity and range, incorporating improvements to upgrade the plane to modern specifications, while also retaining commonality with previous 737 variants. Development began in 1979, and in 1980 preliminary aircraft specifications were released at the Farnborough Airshow. In March 1981 USAir and Southwest Airlines each ordered 10 aircraft, with an option for 20 more.

The new series featured CFM56 turbofan engines, which yielded significant gains in fuel economy and a reduction in noise, but also posed an engineering challenge given the low ground clearance of the 737. Boeing and engine supplier CFMI solved the problem by placing the engine ahead of (rather than below) the wing, and by moving engine accessories to the sides (rather than the bottom) of the engine pod, giving the 737 a distinctive non-circular air intake.

The wing incorporated a number of changes for improved aerodynamics. The wing tip was extended 9 in (23 cm). The leading-edge slots and trailing-edge flaps were adjusted. The flight deck was improved with the optional EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrumentation System), and the passenger cabin incorporated improvements similar to those on the Boeing 757.


Boeing 737-300

The prototype of the -300 rolled out of the Renton plant on January 17, 1984, and first flew on 24 February 1984. After it received its flight certification on November 14, 1984, USAir received the first aircraft on 28 November. A very popular aircraft, Boeing received 252 orders for it in 1985, and over 1000 throughout its production. The 300 series remained in production until 1999 when the last aircraft was delivered to Air New Zealand on 17 December 1999, registration ZK-NGJ.

In December 2008, Southwest Airlines selected Boeing to retrofit the 737-300 with a new set of instruments, hardware and software, in order to improve commonality with the 737-700, as well as to support the Required Navigation Performance initiative.

The 737-300 can be retrofitted with Aviation Partners Boeing winglets. The 737-300 retrofitted with winglets is designated the -300SP (special performance). Used passenger -300 aircraft have also been converted to freighter versions.

The 737-300 was replaced by the 737-700 in the Boeing 737 Next Generation family.

Boeing 737-400

The 737-400 design was launched in 1985 to fill the gap between the 737-300 and the 757-200, and competed with the Airbus A320 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80. It stretched the 737-300 another 10 ft (3.45 m) to carry up to 168 passengers. It included a tail bumper to prevent tailscrapes during take-off (an early issue with the 757), and a strengthened wing spar. The airplane was also upgraded to a full glass cockpit as standard equipment. The prototype rolled out on January 26, 1988, and flew for the first time on 19 February 1988.

The aircraft entered service on September 15, 1988 with launch customer Piedmont Airlines (25 aircraft ordered).

The 737-400F was not a model delivered by Boeing but a converted 737-400 to an all cargo aircraft. Alaska Airlines was the first to convert one of their 400s from regular service to an aircraft with the ability to handle 10 pallets. The airline has also converted five more into fixed combi aircraft for half passenger and freight. These 737-400 Combi aircraft are now in service.

The 737-400 was replaced by the 737-800 in the Boeing 737 Next Generation family.

Boeing 737-500

The -500 series was offered, due to customer demand, as a modern and direct replacement of the 737-200, incorporating the improvements of the 737 Classic series in a model that allowed longer routes with fewer passengers to be more economical than with the 737-300. The fuselage length of the -500 is 1 ft 7 in (47 cm) longer than the 737-200, accommodating up to 132 passengers. Both glass and older style mechanical cockpits arrangements were available. Using the CFM56-3 engine also gave a 25% increase in fuel efficiency over the older -200s P&W engines.

The 737-500 was launched in 1987 by Southwest Airlines, with an order for 20 aircraft, and flew for the first time on 30 June 1989. A single prototype flew 375 hours for the certification process, and on February 28, 1990 Southwest Airlines received the first delivery. The 737-500 has become a favorite of some Russian airlines, with Nordavia, Rossiya Airlines, S7 Airlines, Sky Express, Transaero, and Yamal Airlines all buying second-hand models of the aircraft to replace aging Soviet-built aircraft and/or expand their fleets. Aerolíneas Argentinas is replacing their 737-200's with second-hand 737-500's.

The 737-500 was replaced by the 737-600 in the Boeing 737 Next Generation family. However, unlike the 737-500, the 737-600 has been a slow seller for Boeing since its introduction, with only 69 aircraft delivered.



  • As of July 2010, 1,651 Boeing 737 Classic aircraft were in commercial service. This includes 879 -300s, 419 -400s, and 353 -500s.


  • Many countries operate the 737 passenger and cargo variants in government or military applications. Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India (Indian Air Force), Indonesia, Kuwait, Mexico, Niger, Peru, Philippines (Philippine Air Force) South Korea, Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC's Air Force One), Thailand (Royal Thai Air Force), United Arab Emirates, Venezuela.
  • The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) of the People's Republic of China operates a 737-300 (registered B-4052) as an airborne command post.

Past and present operators (all 737 models)

  • Afghanistan
    Kam Air
    Pamir Airways
    Safi Airways
  • Algeria
    Air Algérie
    Air Algérie Cargo
    Antinea Airlines
    Ecoair International
    Khalifa Airways
    Tassili Airlines
  • Argentina
    Aerolíneas Argentinas
    Aerolíneas Argentinas Cargo
    American Falcon
    Austral Líneas Aéreas
    Dinar Líneas Aéreas
    LAN Argentina
    Southern Winds Airlines
  • Australia
    Ansett Australia
    Virgin Blue
  • Austria
    Austrian Airlines ( Aircraft taken over from Lauda Air)
    Lauda Air
  • Bahamas
    Bahamas Air
  • Bahrain
    Gulf Air
  • Bangladesh
    Best Air
    Biman Bangladesh Airlines
    GMG Airlines
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
    Brussels Airlines
    TNT Airways
  • Bolivia
    Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano
    Boliviana de Aviación
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    B&H Airlines
  • Brazil
    Gol Transportes Aéreos
    Rico Linhas Aéreas
    TAF Linhas Aéreas
    WebJet Linhas Aéreas
    BRA Transportes Aéreo
    Nacional Transportes Aéreos
    Cruzeiro do Sul
    Flex Linhas Aéreas
    ATA Brasil
  • Brunei
    Royal Brunei Airlines is a past operator of the Boeing 737.
  • Bulgaria
    Air Sofia
    Bulgaria Air
    Hemus Air
  • Cambodia
    Royal Khmer Airlines
  • Canada
    Air Canada
    Air North
    Canadian Airlines
    Canadian North
    Canadian Pacific Airlines
    Canjet Airlines
    CHC Helicopter
    First Air
    Pacific Western Airlines
    Sunwing Airlines
  • Chile
    Air Comet Chile
    Avant Airlines
    LAN Airlines
    National Airlines (Chile)
    PAL Airlines
    Sky Airline
  • People's Republic of China
    Air China
    Chang'an Airlines
    China Eastern Airlines
    China Southern Airlines
    China United Airlines
    China Xinhua Airlines
    Hainan Airlines
    Lucky Air
    Shandong Airlines
    Shanghai Airlines
    Shenzhen Airlines
    Xiamen Airlines
    Yangtze River Express Airlines
  • Colombia
    Colombian Air Force
  • Croatia
    Croatia Airline
  • Cyprus
    Helios Airways
  • Czech Republic
    Czech Airlines
    Travel Service
  • Denmark
    Cimber Sterling
    Maersk Air
    Primera Scandinavia
    SAS Denmark
    Sterling Airways
    Transavia Denmark
  • Ecuador
    Icaro Air
  • Egypt
    AMC Airlines
    Midwest Airlines
  • El Salvador
    TACA Airlines
  • Estonia
    Estonian Air
  • Ethiopia
    Ethiopian Airlines
  • Fiji
    Air Pacific
  • Finland
    Finnair Cargo
  • France
    Air Charter
    Air France
    Air Liberte
    Air Tolouse International
    Corse Air International
    Europe Airpost
    Star Europe
    Transavia.com France
    XL Airways France
  • Georgia
    Georgian Airways
  • Germany
    Air Berlin
    Bavaria Fluggesellschaft
    Cirrus Airlines
    Hamburg International
    XL Airways Germany
  • Greece
    Aegean Airlines
    Olympic Airlines
    Cronus Airlines
  • Honduras
    Atlantic Airlines de Honduras
    Rollins Air
  • Hong Kong
    Hong Kong Airlines
  • Hungary
    Malév Hungarian Airlines
    Travel Service Hungary
  • Iceland
    Air Atlanta Icelandic
    Bluebird Cargo
    Iceland Express
  • India
    Air India Express
    Air Sahara
    Indian Airlines
    Jet Airways
    Blue Dart Aviation
  • Indonesia
    Airfast Indonesia
    Batavia Air
    Garuda Indonesia
    Indonesia AirAsia
    Kartika Airlines
    Lion Air
    Merpati Nusantara Airlines
    Sriwijaya Air
    Tri-MG Intra Asia Airlines
  • Ireland
    Aer Lingus
  • Iran
    Iran Air
    Iran Aseman Airlines
  • Iraq
    Iraqi Airways
  • Israel
    El Al
    Israel Aerospace Industries
  • Italy
    Air Italy
    Air One
    Blue Panorama Airlines
    Mistral Air
  • Japan
    All Nippon Airways
    JAL Express
    Japan Airlines
    Japan Transocean Air
    Skymark Airlines
  • Kazakhstan
    Air Astana
  • Kenya
    Kenya Airways
  • Latvia
    Air Baltic
  • Lithuania
    Star1 Airlines
    FlyLAL Charters
  • Libya
    Buraq Air
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
    MAT Macedonian Airlines
  • Madagascar
    Air Madagascar
  • Malaysia
    Malaysia Airlines
    Royal Malaysian Air Force
  • Mauritania
    Air Mauritanie
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia
    Mongolian Airlines
  • Morocco
    Atlas Blue
    Royal Air Maroc
    Royal Air Maroc Cargo
  • Nauru
    Our Airline
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
    Air New Zealand
    Ansett New Zealand
    Freedom Air
    Kiwi Travel International Airlines
    National Airways Corporation
    Pacific Blue
  • Nigeria
    Aero Contractors
    Arik Air
    Bellview Airlines
    Nigerian Eagle Airlines
    Virgin Nigeria Airways
  • Norway
    Busy Bee
    Color Air
    Norwegian Air Shuttle
    SAS Braathens
    Scandinavian Airlines
  • Oman
    Gulf Air
    Oman Air
  • Pakistan
    Aero Asia International
    Pakistan International Airlines
    Shaheen Air International
  • Panama
    Copa Airlines
  • Paraguay
    Líneas Aéreas Paraguayas S.A.
    Regional Paraguaya Líneas Aéreas
    Delcar Charters
  • Peru
    Aero Condor Peru
    Aero Continente
    Nuevo Continente
    Star Perú
    Peruvian Airlines
    Peruvian Air Force
  • Philippines
    Air Philippines
    Pacific Pearl Airways
    Philippine Airlines
    Spirit of Manila
    Philippine Air Force
  • Poland
    LOT Polish Airlines
  • Réunion
    Air Austral
  • Romania
    Blue Air
    Air Bucharest
  • Russia
    KD Avia
    Moscow Airlines
    S7 Airlines
    SAT Airlines
    Yamal Airlines
  • Samoa
    Polynesian Blue
  • Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Serbia
    Jat Airways
  • Slovakia
    Central Charter Airlines Slovakia
    Travel Service Slovakia
  • South Africa
    Interair South Africa
    Interlink Airlines
    South African Airways
  • South Korea
    Asiana Airlines
    Air Busan
    Eastar Jet
    Jeju Air
    Jin Air
    Korean Air
  • Spain
    Air Europa
    Futura International Airways
    Viva Air
  • Suriname
    Surinam Airways
  • Sweden
    Falcon Air
    Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.se)
    Scandinavian Airlines
    TUIfly Nordic
    Viking Airlines
  • Taiwan
    China Airlines
    Far Eastern Air Transport
    Mandarin Airlines
  • Tanzania
    Air Tanzania
  • Thailand
    Nok Air
    Thai Airways International
    Thai AirAsia
    Royal Thai Air Force
  • Trinidad and Tobago
    Caribbean Airlines
    BWIA West Indies Airways
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
    Corendon Airlines
    Cyprus Turkish Airlines
    Pegasus Airlines
    Sky Airlines
    Turkish Airlines
    Tailwind Airlines
  • Turkmenistan
    Turkmenistan Airlines
  • Ukraine
    Ukraine International Airlines
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
    AB Airlines * *
    Air Europe
    Air UK Leisure
    Airways International Cymru
    Ambassador Airways
    Atlantic Airlines
    Britannia Airways
    British Airtours
    British Airways
    British World
    Caledonian Airways
    Color Air
    Excalibur Airways
    GB Airways
    Inter European Airways
    Maersk Air (UK)
    Monarch Airlines
    Novair International Airways
    Orion Airways
    Paramount Airways
    Sabre Airways
    TEA UK
    Thomson Airways
    Titan Airways
    TNT European
  • United States
    Air Florida
    AirTran Airways
    Alaska Airlines
    Aloha Air Cargo
    Aloha Airlines
    America West Airlines
    American Airlines
    American Trans Air
    Braniff Airlines
    Continental Airlines
    Delta Air Lines
    Frontier Airlines
    Miami Air International
    Midway Airlines
    Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA)
    Pan American World Airways
    Peoplexpress Airlines
    Pasto Airways
    Piedmont Airlines
    Presidential Airlines
    Ryan International Airlines
    Southwest Airlines
    Spirit of American Airlines
    Sun Country Airlines
    United Airlines
    US Airways
    Western Airlines
    Wien Air Alaska
  • Vanuatu
    Air Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
    Avior Airlines
  • Vietnam
    Jetstar Pacific
    Pacific Airlines
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe
    Air Zimbabwe

Accidents and incidents

The Boeing 737 Classic were involved into 26 Hull-loss Accidents with a total of 1050 fatalities as of January 2010. Notable accidents and incidents involving the 737 Classics (-300/-400/-500) include:

  • November 23-24, 1985: During the hijacking of EgyptAir Flight 648, a total of 60 people were killed.
  • December 25, 1986: During a hijacking attempt on board of Iraqi Airways Flight 163, a total of 63 people were killed when the plane crashed.
  • January 8, 1989: Kegworth air disaster: British Midland Flight 92, using a 737-400, crashed outside of East Midlands Airport. Of the 8 crew and 118 passengers, 47 passengers died.
  • February 1, 1991: USAir Flight 1493, using a 737-300, collided with a SkyWest Airlines Fairchild Metro III while landing in Los Angeles. All of the 12 people on the Fairchild Metro died while 20 passengers and 2 crew members out of 6 crew members and 83 passengers died on the 737.
  • July 26, 1993: Asiana Airlines Flight 733, using a 737-500, crashed into a mountain, killing 68 of 110 occupants.
  • September 8, 1994: USAir Flight 427, using a 737-300 with 127 passengers and 5 crew members, lost control after a rudder malfunction and crashed outside of Pittsburgh International Airport, killing everyone on board.
  • May 8, 1997: China Southern Airlines Flight 3456, using a 737-300, crashed while landing in Shenzhen, killing 33 of 65 passengers and 2 of 9 crew members.
  • December 19, 1997: SilkAir Flight 185, using a 737-300 with 97 passengers and 7 crew members, crashed into a river in Indonesia, killing everyone on board.
  • September 16, 1998: Continental Airlines Flight 475, using a 737-500, received windshear while landing in Guadalajara, Mexico. None of the passengers and crew received injuries. The aircraft was written off.
  • April 7, 1999: Turkish Airlines Flight 5904, using a 737-400 with six crew members, crashed in Turkey. All of the crew on board died; no passengers flew on that flight.
  • March 5, 2000: Southwest Airlines Flight 1455, using a 737-300, overran the runway upon landing in Burbank, California, United States and crashed. All of the passengers and crew survived.
  • March 3, 2001: Thai Airways International Flight 114, a 737-400 bound for Chiang Mai from Bangkok, was destroyed by an explosion of the center wing tank resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank. The source of the ignition energy for the explosion could not be determined with certainty, but the most likely source was an explosion originating at the center wing tank pump as a result of running the pump in the presence of metal shavings and a fuel/air mixture. One flight attendant died.
  • May 7, 2002: EgyptAir Flight 843, using a 737-500, crashed during approach to Tunis, Tunisia. 3 of 6 crew members and 11 of 56 passengers died.
  • January 3, 2004: Flash Airlines Flight 604, using a 737-300 with 135 passengers and 13 crew members, crashed into the Red Sea, killing everyone on board.
  • June 9, 2005: 2005 Logan Airport runway incursion - A 737-300 operated by US Airways as US Airways Flight 1170 avoided collision with an Aer Lingus Airbus A330 at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
  • August 14, 2005: Helios Airways Flight 522, using a 737-300, suffered a gradual decompression which incapacitated 5 of the 6 crew members and all of the 115 passengers. The plane circled around Greece before crashing into a hill, killing everyone on board.
  • October 3, 2006: A man hijacked Turkish Airlines Flight 1476, Boeing 737-400. The aircraft landed in Italy and all of the passengers and crew survived.
  • January 1, 2007: Adam Air Flight 574, using a 737-400 with 96 passengers and 6 crew members, crashed off the coast of Sulawesi. the occupants were never found, and were presumed dead.
  • February 21, 2007: Adam Air Flight 172, using a 737-300, suffered a structural failure when landing at Juanda International Airport. All of the passengers and crew survived.
  • March 7, 2007: Garuda Indonesia Flight 200, using a 737-400, crashed upon landing at Adisucipto International Airport. Out of 133 passengers and 7 crew members, 20 passengers and 1 crew member died.
  • September 14, 2008: Aeroflot Flight 821, using an Aeroflot-Nord-operated 737-500, crashed shortly before its scheduled arrival. All 82 passengers and 6 crew members were killed.
  • December 20, 2008: Continental Airlines Flight 1404, a 737-500, veered off the runway and caught fire at Denver International Airport during an attempted departure. There were no casualties.
  • July 13, 2009: Southwest Airlines Flight 2294 whilst airborne had a football shaped hole appear and made an emergency landing at Charleston, WV. All 131 onboard survived. The cause is still under investigation.
  • January 16, 2010: UTair Aviation Boeing 737-500 VQ-BAC departed the runway on landing at Vnukovo International Airport and was substantially damaged when the nosewheel collapsed.
  • April 13, 2010: Merpati Nusantara Airlines Flight 836, operated by 737-300 PK-MDE overran the runway at Rendani Airport, Manokwari, Indonesia and broke up in two pieces. All 103 passengers and six crew escaped alive.
  • November 2, 2010: Lionair Flight 712, operated by Boeing 737-400 PK-LIQ overran the runway on landing at Supadio Airport, Pontianak, coming to rest on its belly. All 174 passengers and crew evacuated by the emergency chutes, with few injuries reported.

Production numbers

Variant Produced First flight
Boeing 737-100 30 09 April 1967
Boeing 737-200 1,114 08 August 1967
Boeing 737-200C 96 18 September 1968
Boeing 737-200 Adv 865 15 April 1971
Boeing 737-300 1,113 24 February 1984
Boeing 737-400 486 19 February 1988
Boeing 737-500 389 30 June 1989
Boeing 737-600 68 22 January 1998
Boeing 737-700 847
378 on order
09 February 1997
Boeing 737-BBJ1 95 on order 04 September 1998
Boeing 737-800 1207
886 on order
31 July 1997
Boeing 737-BBJ2 13 on order N/A
Boeing 737-900 55 built 03 August 2000
Boeing 737-900ER 165 on order 01 September 2006
Boeing 737-BBJ3 N/A N/A
Total 5000+


Measurement Boeing 737-300 Boeing 737-400 Boeing 737-500
Cockpit Crew Two
Seating capacity 149 (1-class, maximum)
134 (1-class, typical)
128 (2-class, typical)
168 (1-class, maximum)
159 (1-class, typical)
146 (2-class, typical)
132 (1-class, maximum)
122 (1-class, typical)
108 (2-class, typical)
Seat Pitch 31" 30" (1-class, dense), 32" (1-class, standard)
Seat width 17.2" (1-class, 6 abreast seating)
Overall length 33.4 m
(109 ft 7 in)
36.5 m
(119 ft 6 in)
31.1 m
(101 ft 8 in)
Wingspan 28.88 m
(94 ft 8 in)
28.9 m
(94 ft 9 in)
Overall height 11.13 m
(36 ft 6 in)
11.1 m
(36 ft 5 in)
Wing Sweepback 25°
Aspect Ratio 9.11 9.16
Fuselage Width 3.76 m (12 ft 4 in)
Fuselage Height 4.11 m (13' 6")
Cabin Width 3.54 m (11 ft 7 in)
Cabin Height 2.20 m (7 ft 3 in)
Operating empty weight, typical 32,700 kg
(72,100 lb)
33,200 kg
(73,040 lb)
31,300 kg
(68,860 lb)
Maximum take-off weight 62,820 kg
(138,500 lb)
68,050 kg
(149,710 lb)
60,550 kg
(133,210 lb)
Maximum landing weight 51,700 kg
(114,000 lb)
56,200 kg
(124,000 lb)
50,000 kg
(110,000 lb)
Maximum zero-fuel weight 48,410 kg
(106,500 lb)
53,100 kg
(117,000 lb)
46,700 kg
(103,000 lb)
Cargo Capacity 23.3 m³
(822 ft³)
38.9 m³
(1,373 ft³)
23.3 m³
(822 ft³)
Takeoff field length (MTOW, SL, ISA) 2,300 m (7,546 ft) 2,540 m (8,483 ft) 2,470 m (8,249 ft)
Service Ceiling 37,000 ft
Cruising speed (mach) 0.74 0.74
Maximum speed (mach) 0.82
Range fully loaded 4,204 km (2,270 NM) 4,204 km (2,270 NM) 4,444 km (2,402 NM)
Max. fuel capacity 23,170 L
6,130 USG
23,800 L
6,296 USG
23,800 L
6,296 USG
Engine manufacturer CFM International
Engine type (x2) 56-3B-1 56-3B-2 56-3B-1
Takeoff Thrust 90 kN (20,000 lbf) 98 kN (22,000 lbf) 90 kN (20,000 lbf)
Cruising Thrust 21,810 N (4,902 lbf) 21,900 N (4,930 lbf) 21,810 N (4,902 lbf)
Fan Tip Diameter 1.52 m (60 in) 1.52 m (60 in)
Engine Bypass Ratio 5.0:1 4.9:1 5.0:1
Engine Length 2.36 m (93 in)
Engine Weight (dry) 1,950 kg (4,301 lb)
Engine Ground Clearance 46 cm (18 in)
Last updated November 29, 2010
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Boeing 737 Classic".
By use of this site, you accept the Terms And Conditions Of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Copyright © 2004-2012 Airplane Mart Publishing. All rights reserved.